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Former Suns assistant Dan Majerle calls Suns coaching hire a charade

Jan 24, 2013, 2:14 PM EDT

Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

Alvin Gentry wasn’t let go in Phoenix because of wins and losses — nobody thought he was going to win much with that roster — it was a matter of philosophy. There was a debate within the organization on playing the veterans and earning minutes versus letting the young players learn hard lessons because the team was already struggling.

When Gentry was let go, he was replaced by player development guy Lindsey Hunter, someone with no coaching experience.

That meant passing over guys with head coaching aspirations, like Dan Majerle (a former Suns star). And he’s not happy about it at all, calling the process a charade when he told the Arizona Republic.

“It’s been a hard pill to swallow,” Majerle said. “The first thing that disappoints me is usually in a situation like this, the lead assistant gets the job and that is Elston (Turner) with his 14 years of experience. Once he didn’t get it, I thought I deserved it. The thing I keep hearing management say on the radio is that hiring me would’ve been the popular and easy thing to do. I earned it. I deserved a shot if it’s not going to be Elston. I coached 5 ½ years. I coached the summer leagues. I didn’t need a favor. Picking Elston would’ve been the easy thing to do….

“They talk about integrity,” Majerle said. “To skip over two qualified people didn’t make sense. They chose Lindsey, a guy not even on the coaching staff and who they told us was only there to help us. I think they had their minds made up already before the interviews. I was going to lay low and not comment but I heard people from the organization get on the radio and say I would’ve been the popular and easy thing to do and that’s a slap in the face.”

Majerle was loyal to the Suns organization and feels betrayed. And it’s fair to ask, if you gave him (or Turner) the job with the mandate to play the youngsters wouldn’t they have done it? There is clearly a comfort level in the organization with Hunter, but does that filter down to the players in the locker room?

The next step for the Suns is for them to decide who they are as a team — what style of play they want and who is best to coach that style. Start to form an identity, then get role players that fit the identity. Then the hard part is getting the star, but at least figure out who you are first. Right now there is no clear direction in the Valley of the Sun.

  1. nbascreed - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    1. “Start to form an identity, then get role players that fit the identity. Then the hard part is getting the star…”

    This statement makes NO sense at all and is absurd on its face. There isn’t one in the last 15 years with a legitimate superstar that has built the team and style of play BEFORE that star was drafted/acquired and developed.

    2. Thunder Dan should tone it down. Owners MAKE DECISIONS DUDE and they’re watching. Bad mouthing them because you didn’t get what you wanted is a sure fire way to NOT get on the short list. Take a page out of Shaw’s book and keep your emotions to yourself. Find another gig and bide your time. You’re not the first guy who thought he was qualified to get passed over dude.

  2. aarondommin - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I don’t understand why Dan Majerle thinks he deserves a chance to coach just because he was an assistant for 5 years. Some of these former players have some weird sense of entitlement that they would make great head coaches and how dare management not think so. Who did Majerle develop? What are his credentials other than “I put in my time”? Ownership didn’t view him as a leader of a team and I will be shocked if another team does. Us Suns fans loved Thunder Dan when he was a hard nosed player but just because ownership saw Lindsey Hunter as a stronger HEAD coaching candidate doesn’t mean the hire was a charade. Sounds like sour grapes.

  3. kpow55 - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    What the hell is going on in AZ?

    They need all their teams auctioned to owners who at least attempt to try.

    Aging vets chasing a check and comfortable incumbents aside, I cannot think of any A level free agent who has gone to any of their NBA, MLB, NFL teams in the last 10 years.

    Why “develop” talent when you are just going to trade it way or it lose it in free agency because they don’t want to stay on a poorly built team?

    • badintent - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:33 AM

      one word, Bidwell

  4. mgscott - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    I bet thunder dan could give someone 15 minutes and 9 points per game

  5. dacapt704 - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    And to think…just a few short years ago, they were a class organization from top to bottom. What a turnaround for this franchise SMH

  6. emosnar - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    This just means more losses and languishing for the Suns. Now, what happens next is, Hunter coaches the team for about 2 years, they are the same if not worse then they fire him. Then bring in the man Thunder Dan to make up for, I guess, a poor decision only to continue to losing. The fun will start back up for the Suns when they get fire their owners.

  7. progress2011 - Jan 25, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    Welcome to the REAL WORLD …Danny Boi

    Hey, all regular working-stiffs have experienced being passed over for a promotion.

    It’s a fact that athletes have a silver spoon in their mouth, many times from middle school.
    1. Don’t have to go to class and still get an A
    2. Gifts, money & cars in Highschool
    3. Admitted to top universities with a 2.0 GPA

    But as Thunder Dan is experiencing…..IT DON”T WORK THAT WAY IN THE REAL WORLD !!!!


    • badintent - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:01 AM

      Ah , ya mean like parents pay alumni associations$$$$ mega-bucks to get their 2.0 student children into Ivy league schools ? Really ? and the top senior law partner made a call to his old law firm partner who is now the School Prez

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